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Marching for Science and Climate Protects Our Communities


#1

Marching for Science and Climate Protects Our Communities

Josué J. López

Until three years ago, you could have called me a scientist, educator, or mentor—but not an activist or marcher. Over time, however, I have recognized that I have the knowledge, privilege, and responsibility to act and march to protect the communities I love.


#2

Josue,

Perhaps, as a activist, you have heard concerns that some MIT students, faculty, and alum, have raised regarding the disproportionate research dedicated to the military or private corporate interests rather than the benefit of the majority of the world's population. Perhaps, as an scientist or engineer you have heard of groups such as Science for the People or Engineers for Social Justice.

Yes, the March for Science is a good step to help raise consciousness regarding the importance of scientific research and development however, it is clear that people will need to continue efforts to support science following the march.

Hopefully, those engaged in the March for Science, and similar efforts, will move beyond promoting the need for scientific research and development, in general, and begin questioning the disproportionate focus of military research and development in the US as well as research aimed at enrichment of private institutions/businesses.

Data from the National Science Foundation shows that over half of the Federal funding for Science is for DOD (War Department) research and development
(Source: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/chapter-4/c4s6.htm ):

Total Federal R&D funding for Science: $140 Billion
Federal R&D Science funding for the DOD (War Department): $83.2 Billion (58% of the Total)

Data from the NSF shows that DOD (War Department) sponsored research is significantly less at universities, but still remains at a disproportionate 13%. Additionally, while the US Federal government provides 55% of the science funding for US universities, another 30% comes from privately run institutions and private businesses (Source: https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/herd/2015/ ).

Decades ago, concerned students and faculty got together to form groups such as Science for the People and Engineers for Social Justice, in order to promote the notion that Science and Technology should be directed towards the public good rather than towards private enrichment and weapons development. Hopefully the March for Science can lead to more efforts such as these.


#3

The key to addressing climate challenges is reform of the economic system, which currently celebrates inefficiency by seeking to maximize the Gross National (really Global) Product. With climate (and social) issues largely relegated to the lowly status of externalities, there remains little hope of truly ameliorating anthropogenic impacts on the earth. Some tough politics are going to be required and I don't really care what labels are applied to me as the result of my opinions. Humans have been shitting where they eat and drink for too long. The second law of thermodynamics is a bitch that may just melt capitalism's Promethean wings.